Nigerian Coronavirus Survivor Shared: An Experience that I do not Wish Anyone to Have
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi wants to advocate for the end of the stigma and debunk the myths around Coronavirus.
According to Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, the symptoms started soon after returning from a trip to London.
The 29-year-old Nigerian activist was in the capital of the United Kingdom to attend the Commonwealth Day Service on March 9, where she was the official flag-bearer.
But after arriving in the commercial capital of Nigeria, Lagos, she fell ill and decided to get tested for COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The test came back positive and Osowobi was taken to a specialized facility for medical treatment. She remained in an isolation room until last week, when she was discharged after recovering from COVID-19.
Osowobi, who heads the Stand to End Rape Initiative, a sexual violence advocacy group, spoke to us about the contraction of the new coronavirus, her experience at the isolation center and what she plans to do now. The interview below has been edited slightly for the sake of brevity and clarity.
QUESTION 1: How do you feel about having recovered from the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
Osowobi: It feels good to have survived COVID-19. If you see the data of people who died from the virus, it is alarming. I am really grateful to be alive but also grateful for the experience as I am able to share with people that COVID-19 is not a hoax as many people may believe in Nigeria.
QUESTION 2: What symptoms did you have when you got sick? What did you feel?
Osowobi: I had a high fever, I coughed a lot and I lost my appetite. I had a lot of symptoms on the COVID-19 list, so I knew I had to get tested just to be sure because I was feeling really sick and I was not getting better at all.
The virus started destroying my system. It made me very weak. I was dizzy every second, vomiting. I lost my sense of taste but my sense of smell intensified so that I could smell everything like water, food, even soaps. Everything was just disgusting to me. It was a very difficult time, a very difficult time for me but I am happy to have beaten it.
It was an experience that I do not wish anyone to have.
QUESTION 3: What crossed your mind when you discovered that your test was positive?
Osowobi: The first thing that came to my mind was, “Am I going to die?” I was afraid of being among the people to count as dead. I was wondering, “Is Nigeria ready to handle the situation? Is Lagos State able to handle the situation now?”
I was just very scared.
Nigerian Coronavirus Survivor Shared: An Experience that I do not Wish Anyone
QUESTION 4: What has been the experience with doctors and nurses at the treatment center?
Osowobi: It was good. Despite a very fragile start, we were able to build a relationship over time. I was also able to see how much they were doing their best to provide first class service to everyone at the center, including myself. I had a doctor number, so I texted her about my symptoms or called her if I was feeling in a certain way.
When I was still vomiting, I texted her to say, “Help me, I don’t want to die.” Some nurses came and encouraged me, said a word of prayer with me.
QUESTION 5: What type of treatment did you receive?
Osowobi: I was given some drugs to manage COVID-19 and also to manage the side effects of the drugs. There was even a time when the medication for my vomiting didn’t work, so I had to inject myself to suppress the desire to vomit. I had to make a conscious decision not to vomit because I needed to keep the medication in my system. But the virus was throwing everything away. It was a battle that I won in the end.
QUESTION 6: When did things change?
Osowobi: I re-examined my chances of survival when I started to improve day by day. The vomiting had stopped, the bowel movements had stopped, the dizziness was gradually becoming less effective – so it was an indication that I was recovering.
I was really excited. It renewed my hope of surviving this. They checked my temperature in the morning, afternoon and night – and it got better. My blood pressure was improving.
My pulse was improving. I regained my sense of taste. So I started to reassess my chances of survival so that I could beat that.
QUESTION 7: What message do you want to send to people who have not yet contracted the virus?
Osowobi: Please wash your hands, disinfect and, most importantly, isolate yourself.
I can tell you, from a first experience, that you must isolate yourself; stay at home as much as possible, practice social distancing so as not to infect others if you have the virus without even knowing it.
Not all social gatherings are really important. What is important is your health and your body’s ability to fight off any infection or virus. In order for your body to fight the virus, you also need to equip it with the right diet and the right medication.
QUESTION 8: What do you intend to do with the experience gained after your recovery?
Osowobi: I hope to continue advocating for an end to stigma because I have realized that there is always some kind of stigma attached to the issue.
So I hope to use these medium to help debunk the myths around COVID-19 and those that prove to be positive so that we can collectively, as a global space, support those who are fighting to live.
Stay with primepoint.com.ng for more details as the story unfolds.